It’s happening at our house. It’s scary and it’s real. It is the realization that we are just like all those “other people” suffering in these uncertain times.
It began three weeks ago when Hubby came home and said, “They laid off twenty guys at work today.”
And suddenly, it was us. It was us wondering if the emergency fund was enough. It was us looking at loosing all benefits and all security and hoping that this bad economy would not ruin the ability for Hubby to pursue his passion. And suddenly I looked at the news and the people in the unemployment line very differently. I second guessed that cup of coffee, the shirt I splurged on, and the night out that we spent way too much on.
It began to take over our lives. Everyday he would go to work and I would wonder if this day would be his last. Another week, more layoffs, and he survived. Yet another, more men sent home with no warning. And finally this last week, we survived again.
We are the lucky ones. But how long will it last?
In the midst of feeling very stressed and wondering how we will keep our home, our “stuff,” and our way of life, I received an email from a dear friend.
At her office there is a man that she sees from time to time. He is cold, wet, and dirty. His only companion is his little Collie, Jay. He once had a job, a good job. He was passing through and suddenly ran out of gas money. He lives under the bypass near her building. My friend keeps dog food and supplies for this man so that when she sees him, she has something to offer them. He usually refuses to join her inside, stating he is too dirty, but she implores him daily. Today he came in and she offered him something to drink. He brought his own cup. It was filthy so she washed it. She said she had no idea how long it had been since he had a clean cup to drink from. She noticed that he was missing a glove. He had no way to get another one and his exposed hand showed dirt, grime, and the abuses of the elements. She listened to his story and gave him shelter from the cold, if only for a few minutes. He has no one, cooks with a kerosene heater, and lulls himself to sleep to the sound of passing traffic on a busy interstate. Feeling the cold and biting wind as he tries to get some rest he faces the next day in uncertainty. He wants to work. Has tried. No jobs to be found, especially when you can’t supply a home address.
She cried as he led Jay from her office today on his makeshift “leash.”
Today he became a real person to her. A person with thoughts and feelings and a past and a future. A person who mattered. A person just like her.
I told her she was his angel. Her reply? “No, he is my angel. He makes me realize just how very blessed I am to have what I have, and I refuse to complain.”
Aren’t we all just one step away from being exactly where he is? Shouldn’t we be thankful? Doesn’t this make you approach your day, your job, your “stuff” differently?
Perspective people. Perspective. And I just gained some.
My greatest fear is leaving this world without someone or something feeling the impact of my being here. Today, my friend reminded me that sometimes changing the world doesn’t mean doing huge things for faraway lands, sometimes it means reaching out to those who seem so common in your everyday life.
The cutie patootie Obama girls have not even been at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for a solid week and the attention they are getting is already at Hannah Montana status. They are revered for their clothes, their poise and their demeanor. Every little girl now has a new role model.
Whether that is fair or not I thought this was interesting. Ty toy company of Beanie Babies fame has created “Sweet Sasha” and “Marvelous Malia” dolls. Their mom did not approve. Not one bit. Speaking through her press secretary, she thought it was “inappropriate.” The Ty toy company counteracted by saying the dolls were in no way a representation or inspired by the Obama girls.
What do you think? Does the toy company have an argument or the right? Discuss.
I have heard a lot of people say it has been hard to get into the Christmas spirit this year. I have have struggled with that too this year, for selfish reasons mostly. I think it is because we tie the “spirit” to the giving and receiving of tangible things. I know for the longest time that was the case with me. The whole excitement and anticipation factor usually revolved around looking at mounds and mounds of gifts under the tree and only being able to guess and wonder what they could be. That only made it that much more exciting to have to wait until Christmas morning to find out what all could be wrapped under the tree.
That will not be the case in our house this year and as I suspect in many other homes as well. I believe we, as a result of the change that our world is experiencing, are taking a new look at what is really important and finding that a tree with a ton of gifts is not the real reason we get that giddy feeling at Christmas.
I had a great conversation with Hilary yesterday about how we are both scaling way back this Christmas, buying and giving hand-made items, trying to regain the perspective of what Christmas really should be about. How we should really stop to take a moment to be thankful, really grateful, to God for how much he has given us. We really all are lucky. Yes, all of us. No matter how bad we think the economy is or how bad you feel you can’t buy as much this year, we have to remember that we (the ones who are reading/typing/twittering/blogging from devices that cost good amounts of money when people don’t have food, clothing, healthcare, etc. all over this nation and all over this world) are the lucky ones. We have so much to be thankful for. That in and of itself is reason enough to be in the Holiday spirit.
I totally stole this from Hil and have been meaning to post it for a long time. Think about it.
Tags: Army wives, Iraq, Military, War
Once upon a time there was a little girl. All she ever wanted was to grow up and get married and be a mommy. She dreamed big, aimed high, and accepted no obstacle which would deter her from her ultimate goals. She always gave the proverbial answers when asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
” A teacher.”
She dreamed of working outside the home, but only as an afterthought, only as a second choice. She realized she was born in the wrong era. She would have loved to wear beautiful dresses and stockings with the hem up the back and be at home all day making her house a home. Her ultimate goal was to be a wife, a mom, a good mom, who puts her children first.
She dreamed of a beautiful wedding in a beautiful church surrounded by all of her family and friends. A place filled with love and joy and happiness. A day to celebrate two lives beginning a journey – together.
“Who do you want to marry?”
” A doctor.”
” A fireman.”
” A youth pastor.”
Never a preacher. Never a cowboy. And never a military man.
Never. Never. Never.
Isn’t it funny how your life can sometimes take a path you never dreamed it would? Is it karma? Is it fate? Is it God reminding you that you are ultimately not in charge?
My Not So Fairytale Life with Hubby began when I was 20 years old.
I was in college and there was this guy. He was so sweet and kind. He started hanging around more. He took such interest in me. We could talk for hours about what was important or what was silly. It didn’t matter. We were just together. Just us.
Shy. Painfully shy.
We had classes together. We started walking to and from them together. Hanging out together. Months later we were dating. It was our junior year of college and we were falling in love. One problem, he was a part-time military man. Once a month he would don his camouflage and head off to somewhere I was not interested in nor wanted to hear about. I could love him in spite of that one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer that he must be away.
He didn’t talk much about his duties. He was a Military Policeman. They are never deployed, unless there is a huge riot in an adjoining state, then they are sent. They are trained in riot control. That is about the extent of their duties.
September 11. Buildings falling. People dying. The world is changing.
Our lives are changing.
I stood in my dorm with many of my girlfriends and I watched the towers fall.
We prayed. We hoped. We feared.
Everyone stared at me out of the corner of their eye. After all, I was the Army girlfriend.Were we going to war? Would there be retaliation? Would I be forced to say good-bye to the man I loved?
I walked to find him. I remember exactly what he was wearing, where he was standing, what his demeanor was.
Head down. Hands in his pockets. So still. So in shock.
I walk toward him. Our eyes meet. Neither of us said anything. Neither of us had to.
We both knew.
Our lives were going to change from this moment on. Nothing that we ever knew was to be the same ever again.
Where would we go from here? How do we cope? What does this mean, for us?
All day I heard the inevitable conversation over and over without fail.
“Man, have you heard anything? Have you gotten a call?”
“No, nothing yet.”
“Do you think there will be a war?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you think you will be called-up?”
”I don’t think anyone knows that right now.”
Shut up. SHUT UP. Stop saying that. Who are you to ask him that? Go away. Leave us alone. You don’t know what you are talking about. You don’t know!
Life goes on. We go on. We hear talk of war, talk of deployments.
Full-time military is stretched. They are beginning to call on the National Guard.
Can they do this? Apparently they can.
We wait. Nothing. Talks of war. Talks of deployment. All we know is we want to be together. We decide to go on with our lives. We want to get married and begin our life together. We decide to move forward.
We plan. We arrange. We prepare.
All of the details were finalized. The date was set. May 31, 2003. People were preparing to travel, to come, to celebrate with us.
We were so happy.
I had one more thing to do. My flower girl’s dress. It was the last thing to do. That little girl was growing like a weed and her dress was the absolute last thing that could be done. I return her to her home.
His car. At her house. And I knew.
You know when you have pivotal moment in your life and you know that your life is about to change and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it? I wanted to run away. If you can’t give me news that I can’t hear it isn’t real.
But I couldn’t run. I had another person’s child in my car. That is the only thing that made me walk in that house.
He was there with my friends. Serious. Very serious. The only sound that broke the ice was the sound of the children laughing, oblivious to the situation. I envied them. I wanted to be them. I wanted to laugh carefree again with no knowledge of things like war and separation and dreams shattered.
He took me in his arms and held me. I knew.
“How long do we have?”
” A month maybe.”
“How long will you be gone?”
“No more than six months.”
Six months? Six months? That was an eternity to two people in love who were ready to begin their lives together.
We would wait. He would come home after six months and we would continue our lives.
We had planned a beautiful wedding. All the arrangements had been made, all of the details finalized, all of the deposits had been made and paid.
We would reschedule for when he would return. That was the decision.
Five years ago today we sat in front of the TV and watched the horror of shock and awe. I was living with my parents, they had moved to town just that year for a job relocation and I moved off campus to live with them. Fiance moved in too when he had to have a place to go in between being withdrawn from school for a military activation and reporting for pre-deployment training.
We watched. In silence. He knew that in a few weeks time that he we be walking where those bombs were falling.
He left for the army base near our home. It was a sad day. I knew it was just the beginning. The beginning of good-byes, of long absences, of separation.
Five years ago today. It doesn’t seem real, in some ways it seems like a dream, surely this is someone else’s life, or a story that I am reading. This is not my life. This is not the way it happened for me. That was not my plan, my dream, my fairytale.
He went for training. He prepared. We grew sick away from each other. Like so many others we decided to marry before he left. Due to the news of inevitably long deployments, good benefits, and a make-up wedding that most likely he would not be here for, we decided to elope.
On April 19 we were married in a very small, very quick, ceremony on an army base in KY. We were one of about fifteen couples who were trying to get married that weekend.
“You have the chapel for fifteen minutes, no more” the chaplain told us.
Nothing like being rushed on your wedding day.
We hurried. Our dads prayed. My dad cried as he performed the ceremony.
He was granted two days leave.
He had to take me home to my parent’s house following our brief weekend together. He had to go back to the base. I had to go finish my senior year of college.
The next two weeks were a blur. I drove an hour and half every day each way to be with him. We had to stay in a hotel off the base site. Being part-time military there was no base housing for couples, we spent thousands on just being together. But, we didn’t care we were together and we knew our days were numbered.
He left in May. The day I graduated from college. He called from New York on a layover. I held my cell phone in my hand during the ceremony. In that way he was there.
The next year and half are such a blur.
Loneliness. Utter loneliness. Grief. Sadness. Pride. Anger. Depression. Extensions. Anniversaries apart. Medical problems. No husband. No partner. No friend.
“How are you doing?”
This was my line. I lied to everyone, to myself, to Hubby. I was not fine. It was the darkest time in my life. If I could have gone into a coma and awoken the day he would have returned that would have been my preference. I kept going. I trudged on. But I died inside. I shut down when I was alone. I would go home on the weekends and not go anywhere or do anything, my only solace was Lily, my new little puppy, whom Hubby insited I get to keep me company.
He knew exactly what I needed. She kept me sane in so many ways. She was my friend, my housemate, and my primary source of conversation. She was my sanity in a time when I felt like I was going insane.
But I kept it together, I never cried, never showed my emotions, put on a happy face. That is what we were supposed to do right?
For God, for Country, for our men? Right?
I am not sure.
All I know is that five years ago today my life changed. My hubby changed. Our relationship changed.
Five years later are we for the better? Have we changed the world? Are we safer?
Five years later I still don’t have the answers to those questions.
Tags: Earth, Green Living, Recycling
It’s not just for the Irish! I am not a huge treehugger. I am not a vegetarian and I don’t live a total green lifestyle. But, I think it is important that we all try to help the world just a little bit and do our part. Every week when I take my recycling it reminds me just how important it is to save the few things I can from the landfill. If we all did a little it would help a lot.
Here are a few of my favorite Green resources:
How to Green Guides - Everything you wanted to know about how to go green in everything from your garden to your car.
Method Home Products - We all know Method. We all love it. See how they are doing their part and why we should support them.
Green Living - a great go-to guide on all things green. Here you will find great reads like:
The Green Guide is an online magazine full of helpful tips and tricks.
Go Green people! It is not just for the future, but for today!
Thanks to all of you who have been concerned about my well-being lately. I appreciate your sentiment and your encouragement. To wrap up my Mental Health Day I had an interesting night out last night with the fam and I wanted to share my experience.
Backstory: A few months ago my Big Bubba called to tell me that he wanted the whole family (Mom, Dad, Me, Hubby, Him, and Sister-In-Law) to go see the Celtic Women. Now let me just preface by saying that I do like the Celtic women and most things Irish except for Michael Flatley. Just like Chandlar on Friends, he scares the bejees out of me.
“His legs flail about as if independent from his body!”
Exactly Chandlar, you said it. He is not normal!
Anyway, after some hemming and hawing Bro got me tickets to go as my Birthday present. (My Birthday is in June, not February) So, last night was the night. Hubby did not go, he would rather “be shot and left somewhere for dead.” Alrighty then.
We got there and waited and waited and waited. Apparently one of the Celtic Women was having a bad a hair day or something and kept an entire audience waiting for twenty or so extra minutes, but hey, I didn’t have to work the next day. Take your time! (Extreme Sarcasm) Some time later they appear and let me tell you it was a show of, well, enthusiasm and interesting antics.
As I sat there and watched these women prance around and sing, all I could imagine was what the rehearsals for this show would resemble with a stage director that must be just like Charlotte’s friend Anthony on Sex and the City.
”Ladies, swoosh your skirts. No, I said GLIDE, and skip, yes two, three, four. Now frolic Chloe, I said frolic. That is not angelic, hold your arms like cherubs. Smile like your singing to your babies. MORE PINK LIGHTS!”
There is something wrong with me because the whole time I had to stifle my giggling as I imagined this behind-the-scenes rehearsal. Not to fear because that annoying Chloe, who I refer to as long sleeves Celtic Girl, giggled annoyingly enough for the both of us.
Another notable mention of the night were the drummers who seemed to be in a world of their own. These guys were into it. On two different occasions when they finished their songs they threw their sticks so hard they jetted over the partition and all I could think was, “How is he going into the next song without his stick?” My Mom assured me it “was part of the act.”
But, the enthusiasm award of the night would have to go to the fiddle chick. I call her Sassy Fiddle Girl. You know who she is. Bro informed me of her name. Not sure how he knew it. Apparently he knew all the girls’ names. Hmm.
This is Sassy Fiddle Girl. She is the one running around the stage like she has had one too many Red Bulls. She was the first of the Celtic Women to make her appearance in the bright spot light and the moment we saw her my mom and I both looked at each other at the exact same time and said, “She needs to put on a slip.” You could see right through her entire ensemble which consisted of a strapless top and a pleated skirt with the pleats cut right up to her thighs. I am guessing she preferred it that way. Interesting.
At one point she got so ahe-mm, enthusiastic, that she kicked one of her pleats up in front of her and onto her head where it stayed for a good 3-5 seconds. I kid you not. Sassy Fiddle Girl did not miss a beat though, oh no, she kept right on fiddling. And the crowd loved her. Grown men stood and clapped with her. Woman envied her. Little girls took her flowers at the end. She had that audience. She worked it. She was a blond whirlwind on steroids. I have never ever seen anything like it. She wore me out.
I need some of her stamina because due to the fashionably late start of the Celtic Women, it was a late night and this woman is exhausted and in need of her own Red Bull. It wouldn’t make me quite as sassy though.
Yes, I am ashamed to admit that in the years of loving this movie, I had no idea how to spell Ouiser! I do not read the jackets on the movie- that only reminds me that the characters aren’t really real and to be honest I don’t like to think of that. Call it a reality clash, I prefer to think of it as a journey into the life of another person. After all I was Psych major, people fascinate me-sometimes in good ways, sometimes in bad, but it is all still fascinating!
I did something last night that I have been wanting to do since I moved “out here” to the stix. I have forever been wanting to go to a production at the Gaslight Theater at the Renaissance Center. Me and my best girls trucked it out to the center last night to see D’s friend, Anna, rock it out playing the lead of Shelby in Steel Magnolias. Let me preface by saying that I think the fact that Anna does this as her full time job is so inspiring. She loves it and you can tell! She breathes it, she lives it- it is her passion. If we all could only be so lucky to find our “niche” in the world and run with it full force, no holds bar! She and the whole cast were so excellent! We chopped on yummy Southern entrees and bleeding armadillo grooms cake and got one of the best shows I have EVER seen!
I was just a tad apprehensive in going because when someone ever tries to do any kind of take on a classic it makes me nervous. I usually feel that perfection should not be messed with. Same with portrayal of endeared characters. I have standards that are hard to live up to in the representation of beloved character figures. For this whole reason I usually HATE sequels- with a few rare exceptions, but that is for another day. We laughed, we cried (alot), we had an excellent experience! The women that made up the cast were passionate and professional, alive and engrossed in their characters, they sold it and they did it with a bang. It was excellent. All you Nashvegasites need to trek out to the RCenter too, it is worth all of the time and expense, all while supporting a great cause.